For Jason Smith, writing bad checks is no accident. It’s a lifestyle. That is, if you know him as “Jason Smith” at all!
Numerous Memphis-area businesses say they are out thousands of dollars after the convicted felon’s latest fraudulent scheme was discovered. The con artist has a criminal record going back to 2009, reports FOX13. It seems to be the same game almost every time: fraud, theft, and misrepresentation, allegedly perpetuated across at least five states.
The suspected serial swindler was most recently outed for running a fake business — K&K Property Investment LLC — which hired nine employees and, audaciously, attempted to write a bad check for $8 million to buy a building, according to WREG. That one didn’t go through, and it tipped off employees that something was amiss, to say the least.
They quickly realized that every check was bouncing, to every vendor — even delis.
Vendors and other businesses who say they were ripped off by Smith’s phony business are in the process of filing police reports now. His former employees are out of their jobs. One woman, a mother of four, told WREG she quit her old job to take the job with K&K Property Investment and “got played.”
“I have four kids I am taking care of on my own, and now I’m jobless,” said Ursula Ware.
Rebecca Farrugia, of addiction and recovery nonprofit Hearts for Hope and Healing, said something similar. She said Smith called them to make a donation, something he’s done in other scams in the past.
“He said he’d lost a sister to addiction, and his heart was really there,” said Farrugia. Smith’s check, of course, bounced.
Smith has also posed as a middle school volunteer, a pastor and a candidate for Mayor of Memphis. He’s blamed previous crimes on a “stolen identity” — which would be hard to keep track of, given that he’s gone by any of the following names in the past:
- Jason Gaters
- Jason Smith
- Jason Gators
- Joshua Smith
- Joshua Gaters
Smith, who court filings say was incarcerated as recently as January and is currently on parole in Kentucky, may be on the run again; a warrant for his arrest was issued in June. He directed WREG’s questions to his lawyer, but neither have been heard from since.